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Summary

  1. Updates from across the West of England on Monday 12 December 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Tuesday's weather for the West Country

Thanks for joining us today. 

We'll leave you with a look at tomorrow's weather and be back with you from 7am.

G'night.

Watch: here's what the weather has in store tomorrow.

Severe accident: A358 Somerset both ways

BBC Travel

A358 Somerset both ways severe accident, around A3027 Stapleford Road.

A358 Somerset - A358 Greenway Road in Taunton closed around the A3027 Stapleford Road junction, because of a serious accident.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Serious accident in Taunton

There has been a serious road traffic accident on Greenway Road in Taunton, Avon and Somerset Police say.

The roads affected are: Staplegrove Road, Greenway Road and Leslie Avenue.

The police say they are not sure how long the roads are going to be affected by the accident.

Greenway Road in Taunton
Google

Celebrating a German Christmas in Devizes

This month, BBC Wiltshire is exploring how Wiltshire residents celebrate Christmas in their country of origin.

Angelika was born in Germany, but now lives in Devizes - here's how she marks Christmas, German style. 

Listen: Angelika lives in Devizes now, but she takes us back home for a German Christmas

New signings for Yeovil Town FC

These students studying football coaching have been taken on by Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust.  

Harry Barnes and Lewis Winter will run football sessions for children and community groups having volunteered with the trust for two years.  

Watch: Harry Barnes and Lewis Winter will run football sessions for children and community groups

Avoiding the floods: Villagers pin hopes on a four million pound flood relief scheme

Four years ago people in the Somerset village of Cannington were clearing up after the worst flooding in living memory. 

Forty homes were swamped after torrential rain caused a brook running through the village to overflow. 

Now they are pinning their hopes on a £4m flood relief scheme, which should be completed next spring.

When this scheme is finished, it is expected that flooding in Cannington will be a one in 100 year event, with flood water being diverted away from the village along a new 2km-long channel. 

Watch: residents are pinning their hopes on a £4m flood relief scheme.

Mental health pledge for those in need at Christmas

What are you doing at Christmas?

Heads up Cheltenham have set up their Christmas challenge, designed to help improve the mental health of people in need - often small ventures like providing a lunch for people who would otherwise be alone. 

But how can you make a difference with your actions? Here's our 12 top tips. 

Watch: 'Heads up Cheltenham' set out their '12 days of Christmas' challenge.

Rare bird spotted in Gloucestershire

An Eastern Black Redstart has been spotted for the first time in Gloucestershire. 

The small bird was seen on Sunday at Tewkesbury Abbey. Experts believe it may have been blown here by eastern winds in the autumn.

Watch: an Eastern Black Redstart has been spotted for the first time in Gloucestershire

Horses for therapeutic courses in Wiltshire

Watch: Horse therapy aiding mental health in Wiltshire

People with mental health conditions are being offered a unique kind of therapy in Wiltshire.

The equestrian-themed Horse Course based in Devizes gives people the opportunity to engage in horsemanship activities to help develop their psychosocial skills.

Bridgwater and West Somerset slams police over gun permit renewal

Ian Liddell-Grainger
BBC

A Conservative MP has surrendered his rifles and shotguns after forgetting to renew his firearms certificate.

Ian Liddell-Grainger received a letter from Avon and Somerset Police informing him his certificate had run expired, the Somerset County Gazette reported.

The MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset said he was "appalled" it would take 16 weeks to issue a new one, accusing the force of "utter incompetence".

Avon and Somerset Police refused to respond to the MP's comments.

Great Western Air Ambulance secures its future with a new base

An air ambulance charity has secured its future after a four-year search for a new base.

Planning permission for a new hangar for the Great Western Air Ambulance (GWAAC) at Almondsbury in South Gloucestershire has been granted.

The charity urgently needed to relocate due to the redevelopment of its current base at Filton airport near Bristol.

Its chief executive, John Christensen, said the move meant medical crews can continue to save lives for years to come and they hope to be operational from the site by the end of 2017.

Watch: planning permission has been granted for a new air ambulance hangar.

BreakingMan charged with murder over Swindon house fire

A man has been charged with murder after a fire at a house in Swindon on Saturday. The body of Andraya Lyons, who was 39, was found at the property in Drew Street in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Anthony Porter, 32, from Drew Street in Swindon was arrested and charged by police. 

He has been remanded in custody, and is due to appear at Swindon Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

Salisbury District Hospital's mammoth archiving project

Salisbury District Hospital is calling upon anyone who might be able to help them archive their massive collection of photographs and old medical equipment. 

The project has been part lottery funded but they've got a huge task on their hands.

Staff hope to display the photos around the building to showcase the history of the site.

Watch: staff at Salisbury District Hospital have over 50,000 photos to archive

Looking for something to do this Christmas?

Many charities offer extra help to those sleeping rough at Christmas - but where do you turn to if you want to volunteer?

BBC Radio Bristol have put together a little guide for those with some time to spare on Christmas Day.

Homeless poster
BBC

Bath tipper truck owner admits partial blame for fatal crash

Scott Ellis

BBC Points West

Tipper truck
Photoshot

The owner of truck which killed four people in Bath last year has admitted in court today that he was partly to blame for the crash. Matthew Gordon denies four counts of manslaughter, but made the admission under cross examination. 

He initially said he didn’t know, but later conceded that he was partly to blame. 

The jury heard that he didn't call the emergency services after the crash - and didn’t tell a policeman at the scene that he was owner of the Scania tipper truck. He denied it was because he was worried about the condition of the lorry’s brakes. 

The jury also heard also heard in the days before the crash he'd sent a text message to his partner describing driver Phillip Potter as slow.

Matthew Gordon, Phillip Potter and mechanic Peter Wood deny all charges and the case continues.

Don't get caught up in this on your way home

Just a gentle reminder to commuters heading home on the A4 Bath Road this evening, two-way lights will be in place while the damage is fixed to a burst water main in the road. 

Bristol Water say repairs are likely to take several days.

Burst water main
Bristol Water

Salisbury doctor guilty of historical indecent assault

A former consultant paediatrician at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has been found guilty of 14 counts of indecent assault.

Michael Salmon, 81, from Salisbury, was convicted of 14 counts against 10 girls carried out at Stoke Mandeville and the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospitals.

Reading Crown Court heard the attacks took place during patient examinations between 1975 and 1989.

He was found guilty of other assaults at the hospital in 2015, and sentenced to 18 years.

It is not believed that Salmon's offending is linked to Jimmy Savile, who also worked at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Michael Salmon
PA

Swindon Wildcats reunite to celebrate 30 years

The pucks flew and sticks clashed as 30 years of ice hockey in Swindon was celebrated in a special match last night. 

The Wildcats current team played a Legends side made up of former players from across the years. 

More than 1,000 fans - including BBC Points West's Will Glennon - enjoyed the big match.

Watch: The team celebrated their 30th birthday with a special game last night.
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The Somerset teenager with a field full of Christmas trees

Watch: Ryan Brook took us for a tour of his Christmas tree field

School, homework, and Christmas tree growing - that's what's on the cards for one entrepreneurial 16-year-old from Somerset who has got his own Christmas tree business. 

Ryan Brook from Downside, near Shepton Mallet in Somerset, has a whole field of them ready to be harvested.

Woman who died in Swindon house fire named

Wiltshire Police have released the name of the woman that they believe died in a house fire in Swindon on Saturday. 

Officers believe she is Andraya Lyons, nee Webb, who was 39 and from Swindon. A formal identification is yet to take place but her family has been informed. 

A 32-year-old man was been arrested on suspicion of murder and arson and remains in custody.    

House fire
BBC

Twitchers tweeting from Tewkesbury

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A rare bird normally seen in Iran and Africa has been spotted in Gloucestershire. 

It's the first time the Eastern Black Redstart has been seen in the county and its chosen to perch at Tewkesbury Abbey.

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View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Strictly Come Dancing support 'incredible', says Claudia Fragapane

Listen: Strictly Come Dancing support was "incredible", says Claudia

After a hotly contested semi-final, Bristol's 'pocket rocket' Claudia Fragapane is out of Strictly Come Dancing.

The gymnast and her partner AJ were just pipped to the post after a dance-off against favourite Danny Mac.

Speaking on BBC Radio Bristol in her first interview since leaving the contest, Claudia said she had grown in confidence throughout the BBC1 series.

Former Wasps centre signs for Bristol Rugby

Siale Piutau
Other

Bristol Rugby have signed Tonga captain Siale Piutau, 31, from Japanese club Yamaha Jubilo.

The deal will start in January and run until the end of the season.

Centre Piutau made 12 Premiership appearances for Wasps last season, having joined them on loan in February.

Click here for more.

Abuse scandal victim 'miles from home'

Watch: Lorna and Sydney Blake say they have not seen their daughter in four years

A woman at the centre of an abuse scandal remains hundreds of miles from home because a new unit close to her parents has still not opened.

Simone Blake, 24, from Devizes, was filmed by BBC Panorama being neglected and abused at the Winterbourne View private hospital near Bristol in 2011.

The opening of the new unit in Devizes has been delayed due to authorities wrangling over its status.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was working to open it by Christmas.

Great Western Railway cleaners to stage strike

Great Western Railway trains
PA

Cleaners for Great Western Railway are to stage two separate day-long walkouts before Christmas. 

The Railway Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) confirmed union members employed for sub-contractor Servest UK would be striking across the network.

The dispute centres on the use of agency workers and pay parity with GWR staff. 

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said cleaners were being "mercilessly exploited". GWR has yet to comment.

Bristol mouthpainter joins Christmas card campaign

Watch: Vanessa Haarhoff paints Christmas scenes using just her mouth

A Bristol artist who paints using only her mouth is campaigning to stop the Christmas card tradition from dying out. 

Vanessa Haarhoff is part of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists group. 

The organisation relies on Christmas cards for the majority of their income, but they say the internet is threatening this.

Great Western Air Ambulance future 'secured'

GWAAC helicopter
GWAAC

An air ambulance charity says its future is now secure by finding a new base after a four-year search.

Planning permission for a new hangar for the Great Western Air Ambulance (GWAA) at Almondsbury in South Gloucestershire has been granted.

The charity urgently needed to relocate due to the redevelopment of its current base at Filton airport near Bristol.

Retired pair make success of Christmas tree business

Watch: Meet the two retired friends

David Whitehead and Rob Mitchenall are retired. They also run a Christmas Tree farm.

David came up with the idea in 2008 because he has his own 45-foot, 50-year-old tree in his garden in Wootton Rivers, near Marlborough, which is next door to the paddock they are using.

It has taken six years to grow the trees they are now selling.

Brinkworth bells won't be ringing out this Christmas day

Watch: The original five bells at St Michael & All Angels Church are removed for repairs

The bells won't be ringing out for Christmas Day in one church in Wiltshire. 

The original five bells at St Michael & All Angels Church in Brinkworth have been in place for more than 350 years but they're now in need of repair.

To allow the bells to be taken out the church clock, which has been in place since 1837, had to be moved temporarily. 

But it will allow the previously hand wound clock to receive an electric winding mechanism instead.

Duo suspended for roles in Nick Blackwell sparring incident

Boxing match between Nick Blackwell and Chris Eubank Jr
Other
Nick Blackwell was put into an induced coma following his defeat by Chris Eubank Jr (right) in March

Boxer Hasan Karkardi and trainer Liam Wilkins have been suspended for their roles in the sparring incident that put Nick Blackwell back in hospital.

Blackwell, 26, needed surgery to reduce swelling on his brain after the session on 22 November, despite no longer having a licence to fight.

Karkardi, 29, sparred with Blackwell and Wilkins oversaw the session at the boxing club in Devizes, Wiltshire.

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Wanted man arrested by police in Gloucestershire

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Gloucestershire Police said he was located on Ashgrove Avenue in Gloucester on Sunday morning.

The force has thanked those who shared their appeal for help to find him.

'Human swan' to complete journey in Gloucestershire today?

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Sacha is due to make the final leg of her journey today, flying from Membury Airfield to Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. 

However, wind and fog may delay things until this afternoon or even tomorrow.

She has been following migrating Bewick's swans on their 7,000km (4,500 miles) journey from Russia to WWT Slimbridge.

Severe accident: M5 Bristol southbound

BBC Travel

M5 Bristol southbound severe accident, between J18A for M49 and J19 for A369.

M5 Bristol - One lane closed and slow traffic on M5 Avonmouth Bridge southbound between J18a M49 and M49, because of an accident involving four vehicles.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

The morning headlines from your local newspapers

Overturned lorry in Somerset: A36 reopen again

Santas on the run to raise charity cash

Watch: Santas on the run across the West

Thousands of runners dressed in festive outfits have helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for West Country charities.

In Bristol the annual 2km Santa Run took place around the historical Harbourside.

While in Weston-super-Mare some 2,500 people took part in the 29th Christmas Cracker race.

Burst pipe roadworks in Bristol will last 'a few days'

Listen: Rob Ellis from Bristol Water

There are queues of traffic on the A4 Bath Road, which is one of the busiest in Bristol, after a huge hole appeared caused by a burst water pipe on Saturday.

Two-way temporary traffic lights are in place and will remain there until the hole is fixed.

Speaking on BBC Radio Bristol, Rob Ellis from Bristol Water said they were hoping the roadworks will take "just a few days".

Clothes collection helps city homeless

Donations in Bearpit
BBC
People in Bristol were asked to fill a rucksack with items such as boots, trousers, shirts and gloves

Homeless people in Bristol have been given clothes, food and bedding to help them cope with life on the streets.

Keep Bristol Warm has been asking people to fill a rucksack full of items and bring them to Bristol's Bearpit.

Official figures last week from the city council recorded the number of people sleeping rough in Bristol as 74.

Click here for more.

The morning headlines from your local BBC radio stations

Radio studio
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol:Four homeless charities trying to raise £100,000 to keep beds open at city night shelters have raised £10,000 in a fortnight
  • BBC Radio Gloucestershire:A business owner in Dursley says shop owners need to do more to change the perception of the town
  • BBC Wiltshire:Police in Swindon are continuing to question a man who was arrested on suspicion of murder and arson after a house fire
  • BBC Somerset:A man from Taunton whose nephew was killed by a drink-driver is begging people not to drink any alcohol if they're going to drive